Losing a pet

By Christine Bordelon

I know pet lovers out there understand the difficulty of losing a beloved animal as we did recently when our 16-year-old Maltese Chloe died.

The only pet I had growing up was a parakeet, Pretty Pete, but, I’ve always loved them as did my husband had multiple pets as a kid. When we married, we knew a dog would be in our family.

My oldest asked for a dog first at age 7. I tested his responsibility to care for a pet by getting him a hamster. That didn’t work out, so we remained a petless family.

When my daughter asked for a dog about the same age as my son, the timing seemed right. I figured, with two children, I’d have help caring for a pet.

I didn’t realize how much I could love our Chloe. We got her at six months old, the December before Hurricane Katrina, and, it was love at first sight when Chloe put her head on my daughter’s shoulder.

Like a new baby, Chloe gave us sleepless nights (mostly mine). While I never let children sleep in my bed, Chloe did for eight or nine years and became a true member of our family.

She was a trooper – evacuating with us to Texas after Katrina, and to Georgia for another storm, something that wasn’t easy for her, considering she associated a car ride with going to the vet; and moving to a new house and getting her bearings there.

She was never a dog you could walk; her short legs would only get her down half the block when she would look up as if to say, “Pick me up,” which we did. Yes, she was spoiled like a child.

By the time she was 14, she began slowing down as an elderly person would, developing cataracts, hearing loss and legs that constantly gave out on her. And, yes, we were back to sleepless nights having to take her outside.

COVID-19 hit the same time as her health really declined at age 16, yet Chloe would always bounce back, giving us false hope that she would always be around. God gave us the grace of being home during quarantine to take care of her during her last weeks.

When her time came, it was tougher than I could have imagined. She was so innocent and defenseless. It broke our hearts. Chloe was family and brought us such joy. We miss her dearly already.

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